Environmental Defense Praises House Decision To Protect Moratorium On Offshore Drilling

April 11, 2003
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(11 April 2003 ? Washington, DC)  Environmental Defense today praised adoption of an amendment to the House of Representatives Energy bill removing a controversial provision that called for the use of seismic survey ships and other invasive technologies to look for oil and gas potential even within sensitive coastal areas long protected by a bipartisan congressional moratorium.

The amendment to the Energy bill, sponsored by Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA), Jeff Miller (R-FL), Jim Davis (D-FL), and Richard Pombo (R-CA) was successfully adopted as a "manager's floor amendment" which deleted language already in the Energy bill that would have required an evaluation of potential hydrocarbon resources within coastal waters protected by a 21-year legislative moratorium and by executive leasing deferrals first put in place by former President George Bush, Sr.

"Today's action protects America's shores and beaches, which is good news for the tourism and fishing industries.  Keeping the offshore drilling moratorium in place will preserve America's coasts for future generations," said Richard Charter, marine conservation advocate with Environmental Defense.  Today's congressional action maintains the existing offshore drilling moratorium that protects unleased coastal waters off of California, Oregon, Washington, Florida, Alaska's Bristol Bay, and the entire east coast.